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The Calyx


The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney has grown a new world-class attraction, The Calyx, which opened in June 2016.

The venue was built around the site of the Arc Glasshouse, in the south western corner of the garden. Intelligent, sensitive architecture has replaced the Tropical Centre pyramid and foyer.

The Calyx is an integrated mix of indoor and outdoor areas, with the exhibitions changing on a regular basis, reinventing itself through emotively themed exhibitions. View our current floral display, Pollination here.

The Calyx is an asset for the Royal Botanic Garden that is:

  • Sensitive to place
  • Sustainable
  • Flexible, adaptable, responsive
  • A must see for current and future generations
  • A jewel in the Garden

This facility has been designed as an extension of the arc. It provides multiple operational opportunities for a variety of displays and education endeavours, allowing the display and multipurpose spaces to open up as one space or remain as individual spaces – depending on the horticultural or education need. 

The most significant challenge has been in creating spaces that are ideal for plants and comfortable for people. The building exploits its northern orientation to achieve optimal light transmission for the proper health of the plant life. Extensive research was undertaken on the glazing to ensure the best environmental performance is achieved for required light transmission values, the glass on the existing arc was replaced to achieve optimal conditions.

There are opportunities for future expansion that utilises the steel frame, allowing the facility to grow with the needs and demands of the gardens.

The public exhibition of the Integrated Development Application for The Calyx was conducted by the City of Sydney from 2 December 2014 until 12 January 2015. 

In parallel, the Trust undertook a public exhibition which included an online survey on the Trust’s web site and placement of exhibition boards and surveys at the RBG Gift Shop, one of the highest area of foot traffic for the Garden, particularly over the holiday period.  Despite this, only 29 members of the public participated in the online survey.

At least 75 per cent of the survey respondents indicated their support for all aspects of the proposal – from its visual appeal, accessibility and amenity – to its proposed scale, heritage approach, horticultural and educational capacities.

The majority of respondents (89.3%) thought The Calyx would help to enhance visitors’ experience of the RBG. Importantly, the vast majority of respondents believed that Sydney should have an international quality horticultural display centre.

Although, overall public response to The Calyx proposal was positive, 11 respondents identified particular issues for consideration by the RBG. These focused on considerations for the design and practical functioning of The Calyx, ensuring The Calyx is publically accessible, and maintaining horticulture as the primary focus of The Calyx. Other feedback included suggestions ranging from the design and location of The Calyx, to ideas for displays and public programs, and wider communications. 

Download the Public Consultation Report

An Integrated Development Application was approved by the City of Sydney on 7 April 2015. In accordance with the conditions of consent the RBG will ensure that: 

  • A qualified RBG Arborist will oversee the works adjacent to the tree protection zone
  • Heritage Consultant will provide advice on demolition and excavation
  • Photographical archival of the existing Sydney Tropical Centre be undertaken 
  • Heritage Interpretation Strategy be developed
  • Archaeological Research Design and Excavation Methodology be undertaken.

Further, works will only be undertaken from:

  • 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on Monday to Fridays inclusive
  • 7:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays
  • No work will be carried out on Sundays or Public Holidays
  • Project Director - BGCP Director, Strategy and Projects
  • Project Sponsor – BGCP Director, Horticulture
  • Project Manager - Root Projects Australia
  • Quantity Surveyor - WT Partnership 
  • Mechanical Peer Review - Flux
  • Design & Construct Project Team:
  • Contractor - Cockram Construction
  • Architect - PTW
  • Landscape Architect - McGregor Coxall
  • Services Engineers - Jacobs
  • Structural Engineer - BG&E
  • Heritage/Archaeology - GML Heritage
  • Planner - Urbis
  • Certifier - DLA
  • Arborist - Tree Wise Men 
  • Access - Morris Goding

Curated by the award winning RBG horticulture team, displays focus on key botanic elements, bringing the theme to life with a showcase of colourful plant and flowers.
The hero feature of the display area is the green wall. The largest of its kind in Australia, reaching 6 m high and spanning 50 m, the wall features over 18,000 plants and flowers designed as a living artwork.

Find out about our current and past displays here
All About Flowers

Offering spaces for sit-down and cocktail events, this premium venue is the perfect setting for something truly spectacular and out of the ordinary. The versatile venue is suitable for a range of indoor and outdoor corporate and private events such as celebrations, incentives, dinners, seminars, weddings and more. Work with our events specialists to develop an engaging and impactful event experience for your guests.

Download the brochure or find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions

To arrange a site inspection or a quote, please contact:
Ph: (02) 8023 7678